Wednesday, March 19, 2014

TRUTH: How Can We Know? (Article 5)

It is evident that the first points, self-consciousness, God-consciousness, and righteousness-consciousness are so often not though of by people as they consider what the truth is.  This is natural as they are intuitive.  The last point we discussed, internal consistency, is all too often ignored as people settle for a religion or world view that makes them feel good or comforts their guilt ridden conscience to some degree and confirms them in their own pride and lusts (sin).  We must understand that man is notorious for comforting himself with lies!

God, through His prophet Isaiah, confronted ancient Israel with her purposeful self-deception.
" have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves." (Isaiah 28:15)  The fact is that it is impossible to maintain lies before the God of truth.

As God has stated,
"When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth." (Proverbs 11:7)

You can carry lies all through your life; but, when you arrive before the Holy Judge of all, a person's refuge (hiding place) of lies will completely fall apart.

The fifth step in knowing the truth is taught to us by the Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 2.

Here is what that says...
"1  And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
2  And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
3  And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
4  And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
5  When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
6  But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
7  Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
8  And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
9  Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
10  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
11  I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
12  And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion."

Note the following...
(a)    The man with the palsy (paralysis) came to be physically healed.
(b)    Jesus addressed this man's sins, by forgiving them.
(c)    The scribes (Jewish religious teachers) were shocked as they knew only God can forgive sin, which is exactly true.

Now we come to the central teaching of this whole account.
Jesus asks, "Whether is it easier to say... Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?"  Good questions.  Note that Jesus did not say, 'Whether is easier to do?,' but, "whether is it easier to say?"  To say something like "thy sin be forgiven thee" or "take up thy bed and walk" is to make a claim that is either verifiable or not verifiable.  The fact is that all statements that can be spoken by anyone will fit into one of these categories.  Both types of statements are normal to life and relationships and communication.  In the two statements Jesus makes here, he makes both a verifiable and a non-verifiable statement.  "Take up thy bed and walk" is verifiable; the man will either be healed and walk and Jesus shown to be true, or the man will remain unchanged and Jesus will be shown to be false.  "Thy sins be forgiven thee" is not verifiable; But, that does not automatically mean it is false, just that, you cannot see the results or give historical or scientific corroboration for it.  Whether or not you believe it is entirely based on the character of the person that makes the claim.  Does the person deserve to be believed?

What now?
Jesus continues (verse 10-12), " But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)  I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.  And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all"    [The Bible reason for all the miracles done by Jesus Christ and His Apostles was to show Jesus to be TRUE.]

The purpose for Jesus making the verifiable statement is so that we may see that He is true, that He is Who He says He is, and then have the confidence in Him to believe the things he says that we cannot verify.  Faith is the entrusting of our selves to a non-verifiable statement, such as a promise of God.  Promises are realized in the future.  The things God has given us in the Bible that are verifiable give us irrefutable warrant to trust God on everything else He says.

This is why internal consistency cannot stand alone, it must be accompanied by verifiablity.

I would submit to you that books like the Book of Mormon, Hindu writings, Buddhist writings, and the Koran (etc.) are either not verifiable (they make lots of claims without those claims being testable) or are verified as false where they are testable.  Therefore, I can discount them.

The Bible is unique in this way.  God took some 1,600 hundred years to reveal His entire Word to man because He did so through the history of men and nations for the very purpose that we (God's rational creatures) would be able the verify the Scriptures as TRUE, and have overwhelming confidence that we can trust God for the things that are not verifiable (like promises, and many other things).  If God had just dropped the completed Bible down to man we would have no way to verify its truthfulness.

Isn't God awesome!  And because God has created you a responsible rational free-willed creature God treats you as such and will judge you as such.  That is why I beg of you to pay close attention to the Bible, God's Word; your life and eternity depend on you knowing and submitting yourself to the truth.

The Bible is Verifiable by its...
          (1)    People (ancient documentation).
          (2)    Places (geography).
          (3)    Nations / civilizations.
          (4)    Customs.
          (5)    Israel (God's chosen nation).
          (6)    Historic events.
          (7)    Fulfilled prophecy (the Bible is 100% accurate in all prophecies to date).

Therefore, we are without excuse!

Can I challenge you to not make excuses or trust in lies.  Knowing the truth is not complicated, but it will require some work on your part to hear and think and test.  If you want to know God will help you.


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